Entering the Indian Super League (ISL) as newcomers, Punjab FC embarked on uncharted territory as the first side to earn promotion to the league by clinching the I-League 2022-23 championship. However, transitioning from the I-League to the ISL presented its own set of challenges, pitting them against tactically and technically superior opponents.

Despite the uphill battle, Punjab FC showcased resilience and determination throughout the ISL 2023-24 campaign. Overcoming a sluggish start, they rallied and delivered commendable performances, garnering admiration for their tenacity and fighting spirit. 

While falling just short of playoff qualification may have been a disappointment, Punjab FC's thrilling journey undoubtedly earned them plenty of plaudits. 


Pl: 22; W: 6; L: 6; D: 10; Pts: 24; GF: 28; GA: 35

Punjab FC's season commenced on a sluggish note, as they struggled to secure their first win, enduring a winless streak in their initial eleven games. Their early setbacks included dropping points in three matches where they had taken the lead first.

However, Staikos Vergetis' side gradually found their rhythm, adapting to the rigours of the league as the season progressed. Following the league's resumption in January, they displayed resilience and determination, culminating in some remarkable performances that kept their playoff aspirations alive.

In 2024, they played 10 matches, clinching victory in five of them. While they remained in contention for a playoff spot, their hopes were dashed after a defeat to Mohun Bagan Super Giant in the penultimate game of the season. Nonetheless, Punjab FC concluded their campaign on a positive note, securing a resounding victory over East Bengal FC in their final league fixture. The result not only propelled them to a high finish but also eliminated East Bengal FC from playoff contention.


Punjab FC's attack was a delight to behold, especially with the addition of Wilmar Jordan Gil during the January transfer window. The new signing quickly forged a potent partnership with fellow attackers Madih Talal and Luka Majcen, elevating Punjab FC into a formidable force in the attacking third.

From the turn of the year, Punjab FC showcased their attacking prowess, failing to score in just two of their 10 games. During this period, they found the back of the net 19 times, with Gil, Talal, and Majcen directly contributing to 18 of those goals, while Juan Mera added to the tally with one of his own.

Despite their position in the lower half of the table, Punjab FC finished the season with 28 goals, the second-best tally among teams in the bottom half of the table. 


While Punjab FC showcased prowess in attack and consistently generated scoring opportunities, their Achilles' heel lay in their defensive fragility, a vulnerability that proved costly at pivotal moments. Conceding 35 goals throughout the season, surpassing their own goal-scoring tally saw Punjab FC rank the third-highest among goals conceded in the league.

Despite their impressive form in 2024, Punjab FC's defensive struggles were evident, particularly in their final 10 games where they managed just two clean sheets. Conceding 17 goals during this period proved detrimental, ultimately impacting their overall performance and standings in the league.

Best Player 

Madih Talal

While Gil and Talal made significant contributions to the team, they couldn't match the impact of the French midfielder. Talal's transition to an advanced attacking role under Vergetis proved to be a masterstroke, propelling him to thrive in the latter half of the season. His involvement in 16 goals, comprising six goals and 10 assists, played a major role in the team's success.

Notably, Talal led the league in assists with an impressive tally of 10, a testament to his playmaking abilities. Additionally, he concluded the season with 57 chances, trailing only behind Dimitri Petratos of Mohun Bagan Super Giant and Brandon Fernandes of FC Goa, who both created 60 chances.

In his debut season, Talal left an indelible mark, emerging as the linchpin for Punjab FC and becoming the cohesive force that held the team together.

Best young player 

Nikhil Prabhu 

Prabhu's journey from FC Goa to Punjab FC marked a significant turning point in his career. Despite facing limited opportunities at his former club, he found a new lease on life under the guidance of Vergetis.

Initially deployed as a centre-back, Prabhu's versatility became evident as the season progressed. Transitioning seamlessly to midfield, he began to thrive in the defensive midfield role, showcasing his adaptability and tactical acumen.

Across 20 appearances for Punjab FC, Prabhu emerged as a defensive linchpin, leading the league in interceptions with an impressive tally of 42. Additionally, his tenacity was highlighted by his team-leading 31 successful tackles.

Prabhu's contributions extended beyond defensive duties, as he played a crucial part in securing four clean sheets for his team. Moreover, he etched his name in the score sheet for the first time in his ISL career with a memorable goal against Bengaluru FC

What do they need next season? 

Punjab FC boasts a well-rounded squad, with a blend of Indian and foreign talent. However, the challenge lies in retaining the core players who were instrumental in their success, a task that may prove daunting given the competitive transfer market.

Improving their defensive line will be imperative to build upon their commendable defensive record. While Suresh Meitei and Dimitrios Chatziaasais formed a solid partnership at the heart of the defence, they often faced difficulties against the league's top attackers.

Looking ahead, Coach Vergetis is likely already strategising for the upcoming season. Having experienced the rigours of the ISL firsthand, he may prioritise signings that align with his tactical philosophy.